political and economic impact of obesity. you can watch these programs weekend long on booktv. for a complete schedule, visit booktv.org. >> there is no word the processed food industry hates more than the a word, addiction. and i do try to use it sparingly because they can rather convincingly argue that there are some differences between food cravings and narcotic cravings, certain technical thresholds. however, when they talk about the allure of their foods, again, their language can be so revealing, they use words like crave bl, snackable. >> salt sugar fat is our online book club selection this month. share your thoughts so far and see what others are saying on twitter at hash tag btv book
club and on our facebook page. then join our live, moderated discussion online at both social sites. tuesday night at 9 eastern. >> you're watching booktv. next, david rohde argues that u.s. engagement in the middle east, gives his analysis on the arab spring and current events on syria. this is a little under an hour. >> thank you, and thank you for this bookstore. and i appreciate everybody coming here tonight, and it's just so -- this is such a great institution and such a great thing for this city and this country, and i am honored to be here, and i just really appreciate it. and i want to ask you, first, to be patient with me. this is actually only the second time i've talked about this book. it just came out last week. so this might be a little rough tonight but, hopefully, we'll get true this well together. there are also many of my good
friends here, so that makes me extra nervous. [laughter] can you hear me? >> [inaudible] >> should it come up? how about this? now? now? i can, you know -- oh, there we go. all right. [inaudible conversations] all right, okay. i won't repeat anything i said because there wasn't any point to it all. i do feel, i mean, it is awkward with the terrible events that happened in boston, and my heart goes out to all the victims up there. it was sort of a shocking thing. one of the people that's here tonight is my brother, eric. we actually grew up or spent part of our youth outside of boston in a town called wellesley. where is my brother? did he leave? [laughter] there he is. eric, i went to junior high there, eric went through high school in wellesley and later on became a police officer in wellesley, massachusetts. he had friends that were sent down into boston to help out with the security down there.
he now lives in northern virginia and helps manage a helicopter ambulance service, still a form of public service, but i thank him. and i think, you know, all the people in law enforcement did an absolutely incredible job up in boston this week, and i just appreciate them for everything they do. there are a couple other friends i want to recognize tonight for a different type of service, for their journalistic service. one is missy ryan who's right here in front. she's a colleague from reuters. for the last decade, she covered the conflicts in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan and libya. incredible bravery, she showed in all those countries, and incredible, you know, journalism. warren stroble who's an editor at reuters was one of the team that were the only people that got the weapons of mass destruction story right before the u.s. invasion in 2003. he was then working at mcclatchy newspapers, and they
kept warning people there was no proof of wmd, and unfortunately, larger outlets didn't pick it up. and lastly is a friend of mine, kathleen, who's been working since she and i met in bosnia 20 years ago training local journalists around the world and doing an incredible job of creating local media that hold locals accountable and, hopefully, counter some of the corruption and other issues that, you know, haunt these countries that i'm going to talk about in just a bit. in terms of the book, i first want to scale back your expectations, sort of a cheap maneuver, i know. but i'm not going to offer any magic solution tonight for ending terrorism in our country. i don't have any silver bullet that will suddenly stabilize the middle east. my goal in writing this book was to sort of try to think about these challenges we face and think about this region in a different way. and i hope to provoke discussion. i'll, again, keep in this short, and i'm sort of eager to take
your questions. this should be a conversation, and i want the hear what you think, criticize what i have to say, and i want you to sort of drive this thing. you know, the general view in the middle east is that it's the center of chaos. particularly since the arab spring, you see news reports of analysts' street battles in egypt, syria is just a blood past, and i agree it's an area of tumult and it's sad what's happened there. none of us know what to make of the arab spring, is it a positive or negative thing? i guess if there's one sort of simple message or vision i want to give you is the way i look at the region. it is chaos, but i think there's a larger dynamic going on, and i think there's a historic struggle going on right mow across the middle east -- right now across the middle east between hard line islamists and more moderate muslims who i think are more secular, and
they -- and i am not, you know, an expert in islam by any stretch, but in conversations with these moderate forces and moderate individuals, they talk about how they're very proud of being muslims, and they want to be both muslim, but they also want to be modern. and today don't see those -- they don't see those two as in conflict at all. and i want to talk about that tonight. the focus of my book is, is there more we can do to back those groups and those people who they don't really want to be dictated to by american soldiers at gunpoint and forced to carry out some american-style democracy, but they also don't want to be ruledly jihadists who are forcing them to live in this 12th century caliphate. i'm just going to sort of read a couple passages from the book or a couple examples that i think
represent these two groups, and, you know, i have a bias because of my experiences, you know, the kidnapping that was mentioned. and one group, you know, the negative group that i see on the side of this and the group i'm biased against would have been my guards when i was kidnapped. during the seven months i was in captivity, i got to know these guys fairly well. they rotated during the seven months, but they all had several things in common. again, and this would be sort of the more conservative, more radical side in the middle east that by no means represents the majority, but it's the one that you see and hear about on the news the most. so when i was in captivity, most of my guards were afghan men. they were in their late 20s or early 30s. all had very limited educations from government or religious schools. many had gone to madrassas. some didn't make it past high school, and none of them had seen the world beyond afghanistan and pakistan. there was one guard in particular who i lived with for
six weeks, and he was preparing to be a suicide bomber. and i had many conversations with him about why he was preparing for this mission. he was a young man in his 20s, sort of slim with brown hair and brown eyes, and he said he'd studied engineering in high school, but years later he was in the tribal areas of pakistan assigned to guard me and preparing for his suicide bombing. he was, frankly, better educated than many of the other guards. there were other guards that could barely read, but he had gone to high school and planned to go to college at one point. and i finally asked him after a few days with him, you know, why did he want to die, why did he want tock a suicide bomber. and he answered me live anything this world was a burden for any true muslim. he said earthly relationships with his parents and his siblings didn't matter to him. and he, what was interested is he was so well educated that we
were able to speak in english, and he was sort of puzzled by me. and he was puzzled by the west. and he, like many of my other guards, was absolutely convinced that the 9/11 attacks were staged and that there was a worldwide conspiracy by christians and hindus and jews to blitz rate -- to obliterate islam from the face of the earth. they actually believed it. they kept watching videos that showed this, and i think this is, potentially, we don't know what happened in boston, but potentially this world that these young men were lured into. but they really felt sort of helpless that there was this worldwide conspiracy, they had no way to stop it, and they were defending their faith and their culture and their way of life from this foreign assault, you know? and he asked me questions during the time we spent together. and one of his questions was he wanted to know if it was true that a necktie, like the one i'm wearing tonight, was a secret symbol of christianity.
[laughter] he believed, you know, as he saw afghans on local tv stations, government officials dressed in western clothes, that they were being forced to dress that way, and this was some sign that they were some part of this christian conspiracy. he also believed that we westerners are very weak, and we only cared about the pleasures of this world. i said i missed my family x he seemed sort of amused by it. he had been brainwashed to not miss his family, that his relationship with his family did not matter. that's a clear process, and it takes a long time to brainwash these kids, but a key thing was severing his ties to his family. and i was treated well throughout my captivity, and one of the most remarkable things about him was that i was brought newspapers to read by my guards. they treated me fairly well, and they brought me english-language pakistani newspapers, and this is, again, the sort of moderate side of pakistan. these newspapers would have ads for mobile phone companies in pakistan, shampoo, and the ads
would show pictures of pakistani women with no scarves on their heads, and it would show their hair. and after i would read the papers and get rid of them, this suicide bomber in training would go burn them because he felt that having these images sort of in the living area where we were was a sin and that if he didn't act quickly enough to burn them and get them out of our house, he himself was going to go to hell. so that's the sort of level of, frankly, despair and fear that these young guys feel, that if they don't, you know, pray properly, if they aren't humble enough towards god, they're going to go through hell. and this is the thing they read all the time, and it was really dark and depressing. another side of all this, and this is sort of the second half -- well, it's not the second half of by book, but it is another way of looking at all this. i want to talk about some of the characters that are in the book that represent a different sides of a very diverse region and,
again, i apologize, because this is somewhat simplistic. i want to talk about a pakistani-american who's a graduate of the university of wisconsin. he went out and worked in silicon valley for a few years but decided he really wanted to test himself, so he went, got some seed capital from the owners of different silicon valley companies and went back to pakistan and started what became that country's version of monster do. and he also -- monster.com. and he also started pack stand's first date -- pakistan's first dating web site. he's sort of one of the most successful businessmen in pakistan. similar thing happened with another character in the book, another -- a turkish engineer who worked, again, in silicon valley for a few years. he went home, back to turkey, and he noticed something: that the wi-fi systems made in
the united states, you know, made by cisco, they didn't work very well in turkey because the walls are very thick in turkish homes. and he initially tried to attract american firms to change the equipment, make it stronger so it would work through the walls in turkey. they wouldn't listen to him. so in 2004 he started a company, and today it's one of the largest tech companies in turkey. he's expanded this system sort of across the middle east, beating cisco at its own game, and he's, again, an example of this sort of new, forward-looking business class that's emerged in the region. the last person is a tunisian, and i was in tunis last year. tunis is a safe country, i want to, for the record, state that i did not go to a war zone. and there was this brand new sort of sparkling tower there, and adele torgman is the manager of a company called sun guard. i don't know if you've heard of them. they're an american software
company. they've got about 17,000 employees worldwide. they specialize in doing back office things. they've got offices in india, and that tower i went into was a joint tower built by sun guard and hue hewlett-packard. and the sun guard side of that building are 500 tunisians. when you call for help, i guess you get operators in india and it frustrates you. what adele is doing at sun guard, tunisians speak french -- particularly well educated ones -- and what they're doing is back office work in tunisian for french consumers, and they're doing very well. so if you're calling a help line in france, you're very likely to get an operator in tunisia. they also write software there. his dream is that tunisia will sort of be like india, an outsourcing hub in the middle east. they're closer to france in terms of time zone, and he feels like they can compete with india
in terms of their wages are much lower. this is sort of the other side, and that's sort of growing, modern side of the middle east that i hope, that i think is representative of a different side of the region. to me, what's happened today is the biggest issue it's about jobs. as bill clinton said, it's the economy, stupid. the world bank estimates that if 50 million new jobs are not created in the middle east by 2020, already high unemployment levels across the region are going to explode. and i was surprised, but in doing my research for the book and even for this book tour, former obama administration officials were sort of honest on what a poor job the u.s. is doing on the economic front. tom nice, he told me flat out the united states government has done a terrible job of focusing on economic issues in the middle
east. we need to be thinking bigger, or we're going to wake up here and ask what happened. you have huge youth unemployment and no hope. and the frustration he expressed was very similar to what i heard from hundreds of americans, republicans and democrats, civilians and soldiers in afghanistan and pakistan and iraq over the years. people that go into these countries all agree that security is vital. you can't have economic growth if you don't have security, but they realize in the long run the best way to counter militancy was creating economic growth. but that consensus in the field at least never seemed to ray arrive in -- arrive in washington. altogether we spent $2 trillion in iraq and afghanistan, and of that 1.2 trillion, 95% was spent on military efforts. and when we did make civilian efforts, there were sort of two dynamics that i thought doomed the u.s. effort. one was the sort of anemic state
of our own civilian tactics and can -- and the other was excellent accuratic -- excellent accuratic local governments. no matter what we did, no matter how well we carried out our programs, it just simply wasn't going to work. what struck me was that i found sort of hundreds of american civilians, engineers, teachers, people had volunteered to go over to afghanistan and pakistan who found themselves trapped in this aid system. they felt it was dominated by creating what was called metrics, schools built, students enrolled, the number of politicians trained that would impress members of congress. and as was mentioned earlier, for-profit contractors really.com international airported the effort. -- really dominated the effort. congress' lack of desire in increasing the state department or usaid.
it's much easier to vote for a larger military but not a larger state department. these same dynamics that i saw sort of continue, one person i met in researching the book was a tunisian-american who's a 48-year-old ebay executive, and he was asked in 2011 to be part of a state department delegation to north africa. this is an outgrowth of president obama's 2009 speech in cairo which was very popular in the ream and raised a lot of -- in the region and raised a lot of hopes there. he went to tunisia, morocco and algeria with a group of high-tech executives and angel investor, and each of these countries they stopped, and the u.s. embassy sponsored a competition where young people would come up with business ideas for high-tech start-ups. and there were dozens of people who would apply. the top 50 would actually get to come in and meet these
americans. i was told it was a very exciting day when these delegations came in, all these people were pitching their ideas, and the winner in tunisia was a young woman who proposed the creating of a biotech start-up. but the only problem was that the members of the delegation realized as they were preparing, you know, and making this trip and eventually choosing a winner was that this program was so poorly funded that there was no prize for the winning entrepreneur. so this man and the other members of his delegation cobbled together some kind of award for this young woman who'd won the competition in tunisia and for the winners in algeria and morocco, and that was a three-month fellowship at the tech town incubator in detroit, michigan. and frankly put, you know, we've got to do better than that. i think better track records exist in the region. you know, many people cite turkey. it has its flaws in terms of democracy, and prime prime minir
erdogan has done some outrageous things. but economically i see the european union accession process which through many years caused turkish leaders to reform their economy as a positive model in terms of creating economic growth, turkey is not a member of the e.u. today, but turks don't really care about it. turkey has a faster growing economy than any european nation. they are sort of growing in influence across the region and proud of it. and in terms of other positive examples, and i'm sure we will get a spirited discussion on this, it's a sad statement, but the outgoing palestinian prime minister fayyad was known and credited by people in the region for focusing on creating viable institutions particularly police and security forces, and i just cite him as an example of the kind of leader that exists out there that we could potentially work with. obviously, he's leaving office, so i guess that's not a great example. but, you know, i can talk more.
there's also, president obama mentioned that there's now a hundred high-tech firms on the west bank, and i interviewed an israeli venture capitalist who's investing in those high-tech firms. it's an area of the economy that can and should grow. what do we do about this? what's the answer in terms of u.s. policy? you know, i first of all think we have to scale back what we're trying to do. i mentioned corruption, and i'll speckically mention -- specifically meant hamid karzai's president. there will be a new president in afghanistan in the next couple years and hopefully it won't be one of his brothers. but, you know, if we don't feel we have a local partner, i think we should hold back in our aid efforts. and one thing we can do is create more incentives like this european union system that was used in turkey. two years ago secretary clinton used the term economic state craft. have any of you heard that at
all? see, this is journalists' fault, we don't write about these things. she declared in 2011 in a speech in new york that economic state craft was four at the heart of -- was now at the heart of economic policy. and in terms of the middle east, she sort of called for this sophisticated new effort to integrate the region's economies, and she proposed the creation of an incentive fund for post-arab spring countries of $500 million. and just for comparison's sake, we give three billion a year in aid to israel, so it was 500 million for all of the post-arab spring region. he proposed it to congress last year -- she proposed it to congress last year and it was, essentially, dead on arrival. last week john kerry proposed basically exactly the same thing, a $500 billion to create incentives for these countries
to enact reforms. if you enact reforms, you get basic breaks in terms of aid itself and eventually tariffs are reduced and other things that would hopefully help, again, economic incentives to get people to do this. i'm not suggesting that we hurl tens of billions of dollars at the middle east. we tried that in iraq and afghanistan, and it worked terribly. specific examples different people talked about, tom needs, he says that we should use money from persian gulf states to fund a regional bank that would focus on small and medium-sized businesses. ryan crocker, the former u.s. ambassador in iraq, pakistan and afghanistan, he says we need to listen more, that there are moderates in these countries. we sort of come in with an american agenda. we've got to get these projects finished, we've got to get good numbers, and we don't listen to these moderates enough. and then last week another state department official, jose fernandez, he gave a speech which i think the title was
great, it was called "diplomacy in an age of austerity," and i think that's a reality we have to face. he talked about trying to get american companies to sell in the middle east. in 2011 chinese companies sold $150 billion worth of goods across the middle east. that's twice the amount american companies sold in the region. but one bright spot was actually the united arab emirates which, obviously, where dubai is located. believe it or not, according to this state department official, the united states currently exports more to the united arab emirates than it does to all of india. there's huge markets for infrastructure and energy, and those are areas we do very well in, and we could be more aggressive in those areas sort of competing with chinese firms and other firms. you know, i mentioned this entrepreneurship delegation earlier. i think that could be expanded. any educational programs would help. and i feel that overall
engagement with the region strengthens american security, it doesn't threaten us. when i asked people in tunisia and other countries what was the worst thing the u.s. could do in the region, and they said it was to launch another ground invasion. and then i said, well, what should we do, what helps you most, and they said private investment. they did not want aid, they didn't want big debt programs. they said educational opportunity. if people, if their young people can come study here, given what's happened in boston i know that's difficult, and they also said tourism, interaction. that they would love it if americans would come to these countries. i'm not asking you to go to egypt today. [laughter] that would be an example of a country that i think has handled its transition poorly, i think mohamed morsi's done a poor job, but there are other ways we can interact economically that can produce positive results. and in the wake of boston, if we engage in this fortress
mentally, that's, in a sense, what the extremists want us to do. they want to make this a war against religions, they want us to discriminate against muslims in this country. and, you know, it's very difficult to do, it's a tragedy that's happened there. we have to be vigilant, we have to, you know, fund our law enforcement and intelligence efforts, absolutely. but i think it's a mistake to overreact and play into their hands by becoming a fortress and allowing bigotry to dominate the way we respond to these things. i do believe, i guess in the end to sum it up, that a over time i think prosperity ask working with muslim moderates, not american soldiers and drone strikes, are the best ways to eradicate militancy. and i thank you all very much for listening to me tonight. i'm eager to hear your questions, and i know this is all a very complicated topic and region of the world. thank you. [applause]
>> hello. >> hi. >> i in no way disagree with your economic thrust, but i was just reading earlier today on the interinnocent an article by a -- on the internet an article by a woman i've read before, an egyptian woman fleeing from islam, and she wrote a very, i thought, logical and contract call attack on the idea of relying on moderates. so my question is, if you -- and i hope this doesn't seem impolite -- but if you know that in most muslim majority countries in the middle east it's a death penalty offense to commit blasphemy very broadly defined or appositive that is si, what do your moderates have to say about that? do we just ignore that for ap
endless -- an endless period of time, or is it a problem? >> um, well, i would say the country that's most famous for that is saudi arabia. and i think that we've made a mistake over the years bilal lying ourselves with saudi arabia. they have spread throughout this region the sort of what has been best interpretation of islam. i don't know of anyone in turkey who's been prosecuted or executed for blasphemy, jordan, i don't know that happening. duetunisia? >> [inaudible] >> in pakistan? >> yes. a minister that was -- >> he was executed. yes. i agree. but so, so what do we do? there are people like him, the governor who was assassinated because he criticized the blasphemy law. his son was actually subsequently kidnapped by the taliban and remains in captivity. do we sort of abandon this effort? do we reward his assassins?
i'm trying to argue there's two groups here. he was a brave man, a moderate muslim that was trying to, you know, lost his life in this struggle that's going on. and so my question is, you know, how can we help people like him. and there are many, you know, benazir bhutto. yes, she was killed, but i would say she was the kind of person with the vision and the intention -- interpretation of islam that we, you know, should be working with. so i think if we give up on the religion, that's what they want us to do. they want us to see all of them as this sort of extreme right wing, if you will, of islam, and i just don't think that's representative of, you know, a faith that covers a billion people all across the world. and so i just, you know, you can disagree with me, but that's my interpretation. and thank you though. >> [inaudible]
>> i have a very simple question. with the ongoing shale gas revolution, probably you know what i'm talking about -- >> yes. >> do you think that -- what kind of impact is it going to have on the middle east and, basically, could it decrease the importance of minerals that would disappear from the headlines and we would stop worrying about what's going on in mauritania or qatar or something like this? >> um, i think that it's going to -- the shale gas revolution, the fracking, the increase in energy supplies in the u.s., it's absolutely going to change american foreign policy. we will be less dependent on oil from the middle east. my concern is that china today gets 70% of its energy supplies from the middle east, india about the same and europe as well. and the global economy's so interlinked that even if the u.s. isn't dependent on middle eastern oil, i feel like instability in the region will hurt the chinese economy and the european economy. so, you know, i think we should step back, do less, not engage
in ground invasions, but i don't think we can sort of ig never the middle east. -- ignore the middle east. turbulence will impact the worldwide debt crisis, and if there's economic problems in europe, we have economic problems here. sure. [laughter] >> going back -- >> sorry. >> can you move it? >> that's all right. going back to the -- >> thank you. >> -- gentleman's question. >> yes. >> if you think about iran, say. it's not the middle east, but you have the same moderate -- we hope -- some moderate muslims, and then you have the ruling elite which are, who are very radical muslims. how can we support the moderates without tainting them in the eyes of their own people?
it's a problem in iran, it could be a problem in egypt. it's certainly a problem in pakistan, that association with americans is toxic. they lose all their credibility with their own people. and that was the reason that obama was sort of caught in iran. he didn't mow how to support -- he didn't know how to support the moderates during the green uprising. it wasn't a revolution, because it didn't work. after the election. how could he, how could we support them without damaging them in their own country? >> um, i think that we -- you're right, and we don't want to be sort of, you know, we do undermine them if we help them overtly. there was an american effort to try to get, there was this thing internet and a suitcase, it was a state department effort that was trying to get technology in the country that would allow information to get in.
even in iran they've had a hard time getting information. we should ask these moderates what they want us to do. and they might not want us to publicly say they want us to back them because it hurts. but i would cite the green movement as an example. those were real crowds, there were hundreds of thousands of iranians that wanted change, and, you know, they exist. as i said in the beginning, i don't have answers to these complex questions, but i guess i'd credit the administration in iran with sort of backing off, because it is a problem. if you're seen as too pro-american, it's an issue. just quickly on pakistan, i believe that there are times when drone strikes should be used as a last resort to get militants, senior militants in very remote areas. but we need to minimize them, make them public. they should be handed over to the american military. there's a very clear process, and you can laugh about american military processes.
admit when we kill civilians, pay compensation when we kill civilians, explain who we're targeting and why and make all this public. we are absolutely shooting ourselves in the foot with this, you know, secret drone strike approach. >> i think, i think that'll work out a little bit. i guess i would take a little issue with the weapon of mass destruction. the bomber is actually the weapon of mass destruction. it wasn't bird flu that brought down the pentagon or the world trade center or anthrax. the real issue was stability, and boston proved that all it takes is two creatures to create havoc among hundreds of thousands of people. so one part of that stability involves, involves proper
security. and that involves all sorts of places in the world, especially middle east, since what takes down a lot of people is anarchy. the other part is corruption. you've really not said how to deal effectively with corruption on all levels. you've talked about the top, but not the bottom. and then the other little impetus that goes on are drugs, plus that becomes another additive factor with polygamy, lots of families -- >> do you have a question? >> yes, right. >> okay. >> the question is how do you bring order to disorder when you have a tremendous number of illiterate people and high-tech companies that come into an area that really are out of their league in dealing with ill literacy? >> i think you allow local people to sort of these issues.
-- to sort out these issues. and i think there are people in these countries that are trying to improve education, they're trying to improve the economies, and i think you train journalists, as my friend kathleen has, to expose corruption locally. there are independent tv and news stations in afghanistan and pakistan that attack the corruption. they're not perfect, but they, you know, afghans are as outranged by the corruption and -- outraged by the corruption as pack standnies and americans are. these societies, and i apologize, there are problems of illiteracy, but they're much more complicated than simply massive ill lit rahs is i and polygamy. there are force forces in these societies that are just like here where they want better government, you know, they want less corruption x. be i think we kind of have to trust them to, you know, train them, give them the opportunity to try to solve these problems themselves. and i just don't see how walking away from the region improves any of the problems we've talked
about. >> how would you deal with these creatures in guantanamo who are on the food strike? >> i, first, think it's wrong to call them creatures. i mean, they're human beings -- [applause] and whatever they've done, i think it's important that we should try these people. i think that there's a general sense, and people talk about -- there are cultural differences, and i don't want to say everything's the same. but one of the strongest things you saw in the arab spring is the idea of justice. and i think not trying them, holding them for now 12 years without trial actually hurts our cause. it makes sort of average people in the region think that we're hypocrites, that we say we support sort of the rule of law and democracy, yet we take these people, and we hold them for 12 years without trial. and believe me, it doesn't intimidate these would-be bombers, a place like guantanamo. they have no expectation of sort of fair treatment from american
officials. they're delusional, so being tough on these guys, it's not going to have any impact whatsoever, and we just hurt ourselves by holding them there for so long without trial. >> i'll finish off quickly by saying what do these people expect from the virgins in paradise? >> next question, please. >> um, they -- to be honest, they've been lied to. i feel sorry for them. they've been used by their own sort of religious leaders and deluded into doing these things. >> they say independent bookstores are a threatened species, so well done. [laughter] i have a question. i actually was alarmed and disgusted when i read your column that radicalism is what is need to be blamed and not islam. i come from india. india has -- [inaudible] for 50 years independently and for millions of years before, starting with the ninth century.
mighty americans, i tell you one thing, the state of muslims. we don't have problems with muslims. i have a lot of muslim friends in india. the point is when it comes to the sharia law that most of the countries do including iran, pakistan and the rest, it becomes a political issue. it doesn't become a religious issue. so that's the difference. the difference is it's political, and it's not religious that you are talking about. so my question would be, so let's take an example and say i would ask you this question: there is a country which has a large army, and the army, some of the army is bad, and out attacks the neighboring countries. and the neighboring countries good enough like u.s. and india are would come to that country's king and say, sir, your army's attacking us, so what would you
do? and if the king replied, oh, well, we are good, but that army is bad, so you deal with them, not us. don't blame us, blame them. >> so you're talking about the pakistani army. >> well -- [inaudible] if you will. [laughter] i'm not saying anything -- >> you can say, i'll say it. i think you're talking about the pakistani army, and you're saying the u.s. sort of is saying i would ya, you know, they do bad things now and then but, india, you have to live with the pakistani army. >> well, but -- >> go ahead. i agree with you. >> would you say, okay, your country is good, but your army's bad, so it's all right, we'll die, or are you saying take care of them, or we'll get them? >> i think -- without making any assumptions about where you're talking about or anything like that, i think that the u.s. has had a failed policy of giving too much aid and too much support to the pakistani military. the pakistani -- >> [inaudible] >> the pakistani military, many of their generals, many of them have fought and died fighting
the pakistani taliban. i don't want to impugn pakistani soldier, but there are members of the isi who continue to believe they can use militants as tools to con front india. they use and sport the taliban to, they feel, maintain control of afghanistan, and can they see this whole american presence and effort by india and the u.s. to create a pro-indian regime in afghanistan. and you've essentially got a proxy war and the idea of pakistani generals between the taliban, pro-pakistan and the karzai government which they see as pro-india. >> right. >> they are wrong. world be working to back civilians -- >> right. >> in pakistan and, you know, and i think that would -- the loss of power by the pakistani army would help stabilize the whole region -- >> well, in the wake of the recent bombings in boston, the next day bangkok got bombed.
western press doesn't can really appreciate -- [inaudible] but it happened the next day where, like, 16 people were killed. it's a big indian city, if you don't know. so the thing is, your book says, okay, give them technology, we'll provide the moderate muslims, that is, which i don't have any opinion about because for me, religion is as good as its followers. anyone, it's true for, it's true for exiles, it's true more -- >> yeah. and -- >> i'm a spiritual hindu. >> i would agree that the danger is the use of religion to gain political power. >> that is what is happening everywhere. >> jihadists are doing. >> do we have a point by saying, okay, radicalism is what we need to blame and not islam or any other religion for that matter? >> again, i'm not a scholar of islam. i would say that i oppose, you know, the what has beenist extreme interpretation of islam that gives women no rights and thinks that they should create a
12th century caliphate. and i think there's many pack standnies and indian muslims who disagree with that interpretation. >> sure. and regarding the book, for anybody who don't know, india has done it in '98 when it supported the northern alliance backed by hamid karzai with technology, with everything, but nothing happened. the thing that happened was in '99 we got hijacked. if you don't know, the kandahar hijacking. >> thank you. the taliban, the taliban carried out that hijacking. >> right. >> and along with pakistani militants. hamid karzai had nothing to do -- >> yeah, right. but when we support hamid karzai, that's what we get. >> can we let other people have -- >> sorry. >> it's a lively evening. [laughter] look at it that way. >> most other questions here seem to ignore our history in the region. for decades we supported dictatorships for their
resources. we could go back to saudi arabia, supporting iraq, selling them weapons of mass destruction which were used against iran, and now we're saying, by the way, they used gas against their own people and against iran, but we sold them that gas in the past. so our history with the region is pretty bad. our decisions regarding the region are very bad. we supported the wrong people for the longest time, and i'm assuming that is one of the reasons there are conspiracies there where people think, oh, for the last 30, 40 years they've been doing harm to us, why should we expect something good from west, specifically u.s. or europe, and europe being countries like france have their own history in the region also. >> yeah. >> so my question is with that type of behavior, it's almost like an pucive parent coming -- an abusive parent coming back to the child and saying, oh, please
forget about the past, let's do something good. i don't think that's going to work. my argument would be did you really think that we after the years of abuse and neglect can go back and tell them how to live their lives? it just doesn't make sense to my head. thank you. >> um, i don't think we should go and sort of tell them how to live their lives. i guess i think we should admit this -- you're absolutely right, this policy of backing the saudi family because they gave us oil, backing the pakistani army because they helped us fight the soviets and, you know, we allowed them to spread wahabism has all backfired on us. i think we should step back and not be so public n. egypt in particular we're hugely mistrusted because we forget at americans that we have supported dictators there for 40 years. there was an opinion poll last year that showed more people, what was it, oh, shoot, more people opposed the egyptian
government accepting aid from the united states than egyptians who opposed the peace treaty with israel. so more egyptians are against accepting american aid than egyptians who don't want to have a peace treaty with israel. i agree with you, um, there's sort of a catch 22 though where the u.s. is still seen as this sort of all-powerful force in the region, that we're behindering that's going on -- behind everything that's going on. and, you know, i agree with you. i just think we -- my concern is that we'll just completely step away from the region and think it's not our problem, it's going to be fine on its own, maybe carry out some drone strikes here and there, and i don't think that's an answer either. and, you know, it's not a great answer, but again, ryan crocker in listening to these groups, there is -- and polls show this, there's admiration for the american ideal of democracy and accountability. we don't implement it very well. and there's also admiration for american ways of doing business, and i'm sorry to be a tech
utopian, but that -- when i meet young people, you know, they really are excited about that. not every person in the middle east, obviously, can go work for google, but many of hem say hay want to do this -- many of them say they want to do. this i apologize for the cliche, but it's this muslim thing, they want to be part of the world. globalism is happening. the most popular soap opera across the middle east is a turkish soap opera that's about the sultan's harem in the 12th century, and it's -- i just want to say, and it's very racy, and clerics in saudi arabia have criticized it but, but there's this, again, desire to be a part of the world but proud of their own cultures and not to be so sort of backward. again, something between american puppets and, you know, ruled by jihadists. >> our u.s. army, our u.s. army reserve, our national guard, they're overstretched, they're
tired, and the united states navy and air force are playing the role of the united states army over there. and where are the europeans? i want to see the european armies over there. i mean, i see the french stepping up to the plate in mali, but where -- to create employment, the europeans, the greeks, the germans. there's so many other countries, where their armies? -- where's their armies? everything is going on in their front yard, and i don't want to send a soldier from wyoming who doesn't know diddley squat over there. i'm a conservative, and we're done. let the europeans step up. >> [inaudible] >> i agree. i agree that we should, we shouldn't have any more military interventions. we've tried that, we've spent a trillion dollars and that's, you know, sending in 100,000 american troops isn't going to
stabilize a country. that's why i'm sort of calling for more sort of civilian efforts. i met and spent time with all these military guys. i remember being in northern northern iraq right after the invasion in 2003, and towns would fall and, you know, these soldiers would show up, and the colonel would sort of say, okay, corporal jones, you know, you're going to get the schools running again. okay, lieutenant smith, you do garbage collection, you know? okay, captain johnson, you fix the electricity. and all the soldiers were like, where are the civilians? you know, why -- you know? and we have this overly lopsided focus on military efforts. it's the only thing that we adequately resource in our government is the military. and let me say, the military is spectacular. they train their soldiers, they, you know, have great planning for what they're trying to do to get in and out of a country, and they execute well. and, you know, i'm not saying other government agencies can be as good as the military, but when we criticize government and
say it's a mess and it can't do anything, we don't criticize our military which, again, is a government institution. anyway, i agree with you, though, about less interventions. the french did go into mali, but generally speaking, we're better off funding and training local forces in these countries that want to fight militants. most mall yangs supported the intervention. the key is training them, and it won't be easy, it'll take a long time to sort of push back against these jihadists. it's much more effective when local forces do it than if americans come and do it. >> i just want to say we have time for one more question, and i, also, before we finish up neglected to see that you're all here on somewhat of a historic night for the store. we are selling wine and beer for the first time -- [laughter] and you can purchase it over on the side. we have wonderful -- [inaudible] so, please, help yourself after wards, and we'll take one more
question. thank you. >> what is your opinion of how the western countries should deal with the problem in syria right now? >> um, i think, you know, simply put, i think that the u.s. should allow -- there has been a process where the u.s. has been blocking or asking turkey to not allow certain weapons to go into syria to the rebels, particularly antitank weapons. i don't think any aircraft weapons should go in, but i think we should allow the rebels to be armed by saudi arabia and qatar. and i, you know, my analogy is it's like bosnia. it's a stalemate. it's an ugly civil war. there was a u.n. arms embargo in bosnia, and that essentially froze in place the military advantage of the bosnian serbs. we armed the croatians and bosnians secretly. it was gains on the ground by croatian and bosnian forces that
ended that war. and i know it will lead to more bloodshed in the short term, but i think that, you know, arming the rebels will end the stalemate there. >> my understanding is that qatar and saudi arabia are arming the rebels. >> the rebels have claimed, and it's been lifted now, but the americans were limiting the type of weapons that could go in. they did not want sophisticated weapons go in. we're trying to, i think, vet who's getting these sophisticated weapons, but we really were limiting what kind of weapon was going in. and they've had lots of small arms and rpgs, but they needed more sophisticated stuff to deal with syrian armor and those kind of things. to me, it's you arm and arm fully, or you don't arm. not sort of half and half. thank you all very much. again, i -- [applause] i appreciate all the questions, and it's good to have this conversation. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
>> radio host dennis -- [inaudible] every weekend on c-span2. >> here are some of the latest headlines surrounding the publishing industry this past week. penguin books has agreed to a $75 million settlement in an antitrust e-book pricing suit. last year the department of justice proceeded with lawsuits against apple and five major publishers for engaging in what they believed to be price fixing between the companies. mcmillan and harpercollins have agreed to a $20 million settlement, hatchet book group has agreed to pay 32 million, and simon & schuster has agreed to pay 18 million. apple is still fighting the lawsuit. stephen king has announced that he has no plans to make his new book available in electronic format. the author has been an advocate
of e-books in the past but attributes this recent decision to his love of paperbooks as a child. "the new york times" has made some changes to its book review section. the e-book bestsellers list will no longer appear in the printed version. the prices of books will no longer appear in the bestsellers list, and a new column has replaced the up front column that previously appeared. the changes to the section were made by pamela paul who took over as editor of the book review earlier this year. stay up-to-date about breaking news on hours, books and publishing -- authors, books and publishing by liking us on facebook or follow us on twitter @booktv. visit booktv.org and click on "news about books." >> don't mean to put you on the spot here but, representative tom cole, what's on your summer reading list? [laughter] >> guest: well, i'm reading
david roll's wonderful book, "the hopkins touch." about halfway through that now which is on harry hopkins, legendary aide for fdr and a grinnell graduate. we probably don't have the same politics, but i admire the political style, and it's a compelling life. probably next up for me, i haven't had the chance to read the kaiser book, "act of congress," but the reviews have been pretty compelling. and i think, you know, that's going to be an interesting case study. and when you're reading a book where you know all the characters, barney frank, senator dodd and some of the legislators, it's interesting to get that perspective, and some of the staffers. and then there's a book that i've just ordered on james burns who was, you know, legendary south carolina in politics, actually, jonathan martin of politico put this on my radar, said you're going to love this book. and this was a guy who very nearly, you know, was vice president instead of truman in '44 and continued to play an
extraordinary role in politics and became one of the architects of nixon's success in the south in '68, '72. and he's actually, interestingly enough, just popped up working with harry hopkins on the 1940, this book i'm reading, on the 1940 nomination of fdr, the third term, which was pretty neat political work. so, you know, look, i like to read about the process, and i like to study history, and i ought to read more policy and less history, but i just seem to learn better in history. >> let us know what you're reading this summer. tweet us @booktv, post it on our facebook page or send us an e-mail at book firstname.lastname@example.org. >> here's a look at some of the books that are being published this week. in "straight flush: the true story of six college friends who dealt their way to a billion dollar online poker empire and how it all came crashing down," author ben mezrich recounts the
creation of absolutepoker.com and how the u.s. justice department ended its operations. historian joseph persico details president roosevelt's hands on involvement during world war ii in "roosevelt's centurions." in "midnight in mexico: a reporter's journey through a country's descent into darkness," mexican-american journalist alfredo -- [inaudible] reports against the threat on his life in 2007. dan savage, author of a sex advice column and founder of the it gets percent project, a prom to help -- a program to help prevent suicide against lgbt youth presents his thoughts if "american savage." in "flight of the eagle: the grand strategies that brought america from colonial dependence
to world leadership," conrad black, founder of canada's national post, details nine phases that he con fends insured the rise of the united states. look for these titles in bookstores in the coming week, and watch for the authors in the near future on booktv and on booktv.org. >> there is no word the processed food industry hates more than the a word, addiction. and i do try to use it sparingly because they can rather convincingly argue that there are some differences between food cravings and narcotic cravings, certain technical thresholdings. however, when they talk about the allure of their foods, again, their language can be so revealing, they use words like craveable, snackable. >> salt sugar fat is our online book club selection this month, and it's your last chance to finish up the book and watch